As the primary legislation for our Local Land Charges proposals continues its passage through Parliament, we’re working hard to build relationships with all our stakeholders and drawing on professional expertise to help us

Chris Wilton remembers the day his whole view of HM Land Registry changed – after more than 35 years as a solicitor.

“We used to have a pile of forms from Land Registry of all different colours and if you sent the wrong form with the wrong sort of application it was doomed,” he recalled. “You waited six months for it to be sent back to you.”

For Chris, Senior Partner at West Yorkshire solicitors Hartley & Worstenholme, the key moment was when he was invited to HM Land Registry’s Nottingham Office to meet his newly formed customer team.

“We said to them: “It’s really nice to meet you because we’ve always been terrified of getting phone calls from Land Registry” and they said the same thing about us!

“Land Registry’s attitude had seemed to be: ‘We are very important people, don’t disturb us’. Now it became: ‘We are here to help’, serving the public as we all are.”

Jamie Winch and Chris Wilton

Jamie Winch and Chris Wilton

As a result of the relationship built by Chris (above right) and his colleagues with Customer Team Leader Jamie Winch (above left) and his team, Hartley & Worstenholme became an enthusiastic participant in trials of the electronic Document Registration Service (e-DRS).

“Our firm is 130 years old this year and lots of our relationships with customers go back generations but we want to be at the forefront of what is going on so we can give a better service to our clients,” he said.

“We have always wanted to explore what technology can do for us so it was a real pleasure being given the e-DRS prototype. It completely turned round the way we do things.”

The firm now lodges 94 per cent of its dealings of whole by e-DRS, benefiting from a 50 per cent reduction in fee and contributing to the 80 per cent of dealings of whole received electronically by HM Land Registry.

“We are not a firm that has to consult with hundreds of people to make a decision,” said Chris. “I can say let’s have a go and see how it goes. We were able to give Jamie and his colleagues the practical responses to questions they needed.

“The quicker the service the more satisfied the client is. It’s the same with MapSearch. One of my younger colleagues said to me: ‘I look at MapSearch for everything I do. It speeds up what we can do for the client’.”

For the same reasons Chris is a supporter of HM Land Registry’s Local Land Charges proposals and acting as an adviser on them.

“Some local authorities provide an excellent service but the proposals are saying: ‘Ultimately everyone should benefit from the best’,” he said.

Jamie is now the Stakeholder & Policy Manager in the Local Land Charges Team.

Our previous articles on this subject include:

Gavin Curry
By Gavin Curry,
Digital Communications and Editorial Officer at HM Land Registry